ƲRIM and THƲMMIM; OR THE CLERGIES DIGNITY and DVTY Recommended in a Visitation Sermon Preached at LEWES in Sussex, April 27. 1669.

By Malachi Conant B. D.

S. Ignatius. [...].

S. Hieronymus. Vita jubeat, Lingua persuadeat.

OXFORD, Printed by H. Hall, Printer to the Vniver­sity, for James Collins, at the sign of the King's Head in Westminster-Hall. 1669.



Aug. 2, 1669.

ADMODUM Reverendo in Christo Patri ac Domino, D no HENRICO (Providentiâ Divinâ) Cicestrensi Episcopo Praesuli non minus ob virtutes Heroicas & eruditionem summam, quam Infulae dignitatem spectatissimo, NECNON Domino, Patrono, ac Fautori suo, quam plurimis nominibus Colendissimo

Concionem hanc qualem-qualem, ad Clerum Sussexianum haud ita pridem habitam, Observantiae, & gratitudinis haud exiguae specimen ac [...] exiguum.

L. M. Q. D. D. D.

Humillimus Cliens, Author.

Ʋrim and Thummim; OR, THE CLERGIES DIGNITY and DUTY Recommended in a Visitation Sermon Preached at LEWES. April, 27. 1669.

S. Matth. 5.16.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Father, which is in Heaven.

NO sooner had Almighty God created the Heaven, and the earth, but perceiving that while this lower World was co­vered with darkness, the most excellent objects lost their beauty, and so that it was no bet­ter, then a larger dungeon; that so he might the better extract a beautiful world out of a confused Chaos, he was pleased immediately by his Omnipotent Word to produce times first born Issue Light, Gen. 1.3. and in the invisible World those morning Stars, which were [Page 2]then all Angels of Light: And accordingly in the New-creation of that little world Man, one of the first graces, is that of Illumination, whereby men are turned from darkness to light, Acts 26.18. and from the power of Satan (that Angel of darkness,) unto God the Father of Lights. But seeing this light within us is supernatural, it must (like the other cele­stial being) be introduced by a light without, viz. that true primigenial Universal Light, that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1.9. And this treasure of light God hath put (as Gideon did his lamps) into earthen vessels, shining upon us by the vicarious borrowed light of his Ministers, whom in this sense he hath made a flaming fire, or as the light of the morning when the Sun ariseth; Revel. 1.20. and therefore calleth them Stars, in his right hand.

Hence our blessed Saviour in this his excellent Sermon on the Mount (out of which the Text is ta­ken) directed primarily to his Disciples, though they receive their charge like a Grand Jury be­fore the multitude, vouchsafes to dignifie them, be­sides other titles of the Salt of the earth, and a City set upon an hill, with the honourable appellation of the Lights of the world, vers. 14. and proceedes from their dignity to infer and urge their duty in the Text. [...]. Let your light so shine, &c. or (as others) So let your light shine, &c. q. d. seeing you are called to this high, and holy calling, and have the title of Light attributed unto you, by which God himself is called, and considering you are in danger by the power of temptation and [Page 3]your own frailty, with those once blessed Angels to leave your first Station, and fall from your own stedfastness into supineness of living; let me tell you, this Elogy doth not only entitle you to a benefice and dignity, but likewise oblige you to an Office, and Duty: and so you are not to sever the Honour of your Sacred Function from the charge and burden annexed unto it; but so keep your decorum as to your demeanour both in life and doctrine, that it may be suitable to that weighty, and transcendent Calling of being my Ministers and Apostles, into which you are now instated.

And so you have in the words these parts.

First, The Dignity of Christ's Ministers; Implied in Light.

Secondly, Their Duty expressed. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works.

Thirdly, The Scope, and end of all. Not the ostentation of our selves (for so they are repro­ved, Matth. 6.1. that do their works before men to be seen of them.) But, First as a subordinate end the edifica­tion of others, that they may take pattern by us in seeing our good works:

Secondly, the Supreme and Ultimate, Gods glo­ry, that men may be induced to glorifie him in the day of their visitation, for having provided for them such excellent instructors, and sure guides.

1. To resume the former of these.

The Ministers of the Gospel have the honour and priviledge to be styled Lights, a Title the more considerable in that ascribed to God himself, 1 John 1.5. [Page 4]though it is true with some difference, to him as to an Original, Inaccessible, Incomprehensible Light, to us as secondary lesser mutuatitious lights: but however it is honour enough that he is pleased to put some of his glory upon us, as he did on Moses his face, though we shine but with a reflex and re­fracted ray. It is enough that though he only be the Father of Lights; yet we are children of the light, and of the day; and that we have this Spiri­tual honour derived to us immediately by this Fountain of all honour. What though we are not that Son of Righteousness which ariseth with healing in his wings, that day spring from on high? Yet are we radiant stars of light. We are not all perhaps of the same magnitude, nor do we all move, in the same Sphere, but some in an higher, others in a lower; and one star differeth from another star in glory: but yet still if we be good Pastors, we have the name given us of Celestial bodies, and so are exalted in our Christian station above the in­ferior world of Laymen or Private Christians; and as stars, have not only the priviledge of being illu­minated our selves, but that other more obscure Corporeal beings in our light do see Light.

But to descend to particulars my business shall be to demonstrate briefly some of that Analogy and proportion that is to be found between the Lite­ral and Metaphorical, Natural and Supernatural light; and this I shall do in two heads.

1. Lux est speciosissima aspectu.

2. Lux est fortissima effectu.

1. Eccles. 11.7. It is speciosissima aspectu. Light is sweet and it is a pleasant thing to behold the Sun, saith Solo­mon. I cannot better descant on those words, than [Page 5]in the elegant style of the ingenious Author, of the Light of Nature. Culverwel. c. 17.

Light is (saith he) the smile of nature, the gloss of the World, the varnish of the creation, a bright paraphrase on bodies; whether it discover it self in the modesty of a morning bl [...]sh, and open it's fair, and Virgine eye-lids in the dawning day, whether it dart out it's more vigorous and sprightly beams in it's noon-day glory, whether it sport and twinkle in a star, or blaze and glare out in a Comet, or frisk and dance in a jewel, or dissemble and play the hypocrite in a Glow-worm, or shew it's zeal and the ruddiness of it's Complexion in the yolk of fire, or grow more pale pining and consuming away in a Candle: However it appears, it carries a command­ing lustre in it's face, and well deserveth the name of the Lady and Queen of all sensible beauties, The first born of corporeal beings; The clarifier, and refiner of the Chaos, the unspotted beauty of the universe.

Now herein Christ's Apostles and Successors bear a resemblance unto it, being for the spiritual excellency of their Calling denominated not only stars, but Angels, chosen Vessels, Men of a thousand; Revel 1.20. & 2.1. Acts 9.15. Job 33.23. Rom. 10.15. 2 Cor. 8.23. their very feet are styled beautiful, and they them­selves, the Glory of Christ. We know that the Ju­daical Priesthood was externally very glorious, and yet that, being only a Type of ours, is made much inferior by the Apostle to ours. 2 Cor. 3.9. If the ministration of condemnation were glorious, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. Cal­led therefore we are God's stewards, Messengers, 1 Cor. 4.1. 2 Cor. 5.20. and Ambassadors. And how indeed can their em­ployment chuse but be honourable, whose business [Page 6]is to menage the affairs of heaven upon earth? No wonder therefore that Christ himself, though Lord of heaven and earth, did not disdain to un­dertake it for our sakes, Rom. 15.8. when he became a Mini­ster of the New Testament. And though it is true, that this holy function is esteemed now adays Vile and Contemptible by those earth-worms that nei­ther fear God, nor value their own Souls, but esteem of men according to their external wealth and grandeur, weighing them by the pound, and measuring them by the Acre, and therefore account of us as for the same reason they would the Apo­stles themselves, were they now alive, as the dung and off-scouring of all things; Yet it is no wonder, that these persons judging according to appearance judge not righteous judgement; 1 Cor. 4.13. but they measuring themselves by themselves and comparing themselves amongst themselves are not wise. 2 Cor. 10, 12. Wherefore we are to turn our just wonder and in­dignation into Pity and Commiseration of them, that they will so much stand in their own light, for­sake their own mercy, and shew themselves their own greatest enemies. It is but their weakness and ignorance, that they know not how to prize things or persons according to their true worth, or discern things that differ, but entertain wrong no­tions of excellencies. What if Children prefer their bables before the Tower of London; or the Cock, the grain of Barly before the Jewel; or Glaucus, in the story glistering Brass before Massy Gold; or Esau, a Morsel of bread before his birth­right; or the Gadarens, their Swine before their Saviour? It is but mens gross mistakes and vulgar prejudices, Matth. 13.57. that prophets are not accepted in their [Page 7]own Country, and that the English Clergy, which are the admiration of the more Impartial World abroad, are the scorn and derision of any of their own more ungrateful Country-men; Or that they are guilty of the other extreme from that into which they ran in the times of Popery, defying that Order of Church-men, which the others then almost deified and adored, and all for mumbling over a few Oraisons in a strange tongue, making their Breaden God, Chanting Dirges for the Li­ving, and Requiems for the Dead, and such like other fopperies. We must for our parts learn from this their carriage to us, not to think meaner of that Honour which the King of Heaven thinketh fit to put upon us, but rather with the Apostle to magnifie Our Office; Rom. 11.13. and in compliance with our Lord and Masters instructions to his Disciples, Mark 6.11. let us bravely shake off the dust of our feet against them, that receive not us or our Ministry. 1 Cor. 4.3. Let it be a very small thing with us, to be judged with man's judgment, while God vouchsafes us such Honour. No, let us rather with an holy and gene­rous disdain scorn the scorner, trample upon Con­tempt, despise Affronts and slight Indignities. Let us shew our selves Men of more raised Spirits and Principles, and let us account that calling Our greatest Honour, which the World may think Our debasement. Let us learn to leave this base World behind us, let us live above it, as having ever shewed it self false treacherous and disingenuous, whose guise it hath been to be guilty of unwor­thy fordid and dirty carriage, to be most injurious to it's greatest benefactors, to set at nought him who came to save them, and then to Crucifie him, [Page 8]to persecute and abuse His Apostles, and Ministers, that were Content to undergo the loss of all things, that they might shew them the way to Sal­vation, and to be poor in temporals, that they may be rich in Spirituals; as if according to that Hi­storians Observation, Courtesies and kindnesses change their Nature, and are looked upon as in­juries, when they are too great to be repaid, and (as it is here) people owe their own selves also. Philem. 19. How indeed can we expect that the World should alter it's Nature for us now in it's old declining age? Or that the Men of this World, among whom we shine as lights, Philip. 2.15. should cease to be a crooked and per­verse generation? Our comfort is, the Moon shines never the less bright, because barked at by Dogs; nor is the light less glorious in it's Na­ture, John 1.5. because the darkness comprehendeth it not.

2. Lux est fortissima effectu. Light herein dis­covereth it's celestial Original, and imitates hea­venly bodies in it's motion and influence, as well as in it's enlightning. Whether it be a quality ac­cording to the Aristotelians, or a more subtile body, according to the Epicurean Phylosophy, it will be here impertinent to determine. This is certain, that all things else become visible; It's own true na­ture still remains unintelligible, being in the dark it self, how sensible soever it is in it's effects, which are (as God himself) rather to be admired than understood. It is most admirably diffusive of its self, and with a motion (if not instantaneous yet) insensibly successive, is propagated in the medium.

Have you never seen one torch in the twinkling of an eye expel the darkness of an whole Street; [Page 9]One Beacon, or Boonfire discover it self to the whole Vicinage; All the shadows flying away at the dawning of the day?

Light is the vehicle of the sweet influences of heaven; It is the great guide and director of Acti­ons: and so it's not only for shew, but Service. He that walketh in the Light, John 11.9. (saith Christ who was the true light,) stumbleth not because he seeth the light of this World. Now thus it is with those who are able Ministers of the New Testament. They are that to the body Mystical, the Church, which the eye is to the body Natural. They are our Spiritual guides unto Salvation; not only Mercurial Statues, pointing the way to others, and standing still themselves, but like the Star that did not only lighten, but lead the wisemen of the East, till they came to the Child Jesus.

And if we be lights indeed, we shall not think it enough, that we have lamps, unless we have oyl in Our Lamps; Nor that we have oyl in them, unless they are burning and shining, so as to give light unto others, by our holy life and doctrine, bringing thereby glory to God, credit to Religion, Salvation to our own Souls, and theirs that hear us. We are not only to be painted, but real flames, like torches giving Light to others, though at the same time they consume themselves. But here we must take care, that our Light be not a false Light not an ignis-fatuus, to draw and seduce men into bogs and precipices, not an ignis Graecus, a Wild­fire, to inflame and heighten their animosities and passions, nor like that of a glow-worm, where there is light without heat, nor like that of a candle in a Dark Lanthern to give light to none but our [Page 10]selves, nay nor like that of a fiery Meteore, va­nishing as soon as it appeareth, but like that of the Sun and Stars, constant perpetual and invari­able. And this unspotted being must not be obscu­red and overclouded with thick vapors of lusts: Neither must it burn downwards towards the earth, and be put under a bushel, but upwards towards heaven. So that it is not sufficient for us to have light, except our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, &c.

2. Which brings me to the second General, from the dignity of the Gospels Ministers to their duty.

We must not only be lights for glory, and gla­ring, but for the use and service of enlightning others: We must not only have those graces, which are radical and fundamental in the root, but those also which are visible and external in the fruit; nor those only which are terminated to our selves, but those that extend to others. It is not enough that our goodness extend unto God the searcher of hearts, but it must be conspicuous in the world, Psal. 16.3. to the Saints that are in the Earth. And so our gifts and knowledge within must shew themselves by giving heed to our doctrine and ex­hortation without; James 2.18, and Our faith within must ap­pear by Our works, and the effects of a transient charity to others. And we must be as Christ was, Prophets mighty both in word and deed. Luke 24.19. We must have, Exod. 28.30. as the high Priest of old had, both our Urim and Thummim, light of Doctrine, and perfection of life. Exod. 28.33. We must not separate Aarons bells from his pomegranates; We must not only have an empty sound like a tinkling Cymbal in our teach­ing, [Page 11]but bring forth fragrant fruit in our living, and in this regard be savours of life unto life. 2 Cor. 6.16. Our Conversation must preach as well as our discour­ses, and we must be Instructors and teachers of babes, not only to their ears, (that is only doing our work by halves) but to their eyes, and so we shall make religion palpable to their very sen­ses. When they not only hear our Sermons to practise them, but behold our honest Conversati­ons to imitate and follow them; then, and not till then shall we be able with the Apostle to charge them to walk as they have us for an Example: Philip. 3.19. and they need not be charged as the Jews were to do after our sayings, but not after our works. All that I shall say hereon, I may reduce to two heads of Our Doctrine, and Life.

1. For the Light of our doctrine, which deno­minateth us Teachers: in which as in other things, I desire my Reverend Brethren of the Ministry (now I am by the providence of God, and by the Injun­ction of my Superiors called hither) to give me the Liberty of speaking my thoughts, without offence, and mind them of that, which we know Saint Paul straitly chargeth Timothy, to take heed unto himself, and his doctrine, and put them in remembrance, 1 Tim. 4.16. 1 Tim. 4.6. 2 Tim. 2.14. to stir up the gift of God in them. Ministers of the Gospel should have their senses exercised to discern Spiritual things that differ, above private Christi­ans, and being in this regard as stars, the more Dense parts of their Orbs or Vortices, so as their light be more compacted and united, whereby to enable them to out-shine others.

It is not enough for them to fill the Golden Candlesticks of the Temple, unless they give light [Page 12]to those who enter in; otherwise they are but as Antiques under a building, that seem to groan un­der their burden, whereas in stead of supporting, they are only supported themselves. Our Saviour chargeth us therefore, not only to have our loins always girt, Luke 12.35. i. e. with the girdle of truth and sin­cerity, or so as to be still in procinctu, ready for his com [...]ng, or if you will, by external conformi­ty in our habit; but we must have Our lights burn­ing, to illuminate and direct others in their way to heaven, and be to them as the pillar of fire by night was to the Israelites, in their journey through the wilderness towards Canaan. What good else doth light, if it discover not it's self to them who sit in darkness? No more than painted fire to those who are benum'd with cold. For the Priests lips should preserve knowledge, and they should seek the Law at his mouth, Mal. 2.7. for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. It will not be enough for us in the last day when we are to give an account of our stewardship to our Master in heaven, that we have lived an unprofitable, though Innocent An­chorets life, that we have laid up our talent in a Napkin. Lûke 19.20. No, we must lay it out for our Lords pro­fit. We are bid to preach the word, to be instant in season and out of season, 2 Tim. 4.2. to reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine. We are not allowed to lock up a treasure of knowledge in our own breast, or cover our fire under the Ashes; but it must break out as a fire on the Altar, and we must still have before our eyes, our solemn promise made when we received holy Orders, to give faithful di­ligence, to Minister the Doctrine and discipline of Christ. We must not be like wandring planets, [Page 13]which are sometimes Stationary, sometimes Re­trograde, much less like vanishing Comets; but as constantly as well as publikely useful, as those Luminaries are in Lightning and guiding the lower World.

Now because our Saviour seems to propose Saint John the Baptist as our Example herein, John 5.35. when he styles him a burning and shining light, I shall therefore give you a brief character of him, being one, as a Father descants on the place, Ardens per coeleste desiderium, lucens per verbum. As severe in his life, as he was in his Doctrine. He was none of those who wore a rough garment to deceive, he was no Hermite as to loving his ease, and indulging himself, like an Abbey-lubber, that could satisfie himself with the taking the Milk and the Wool of the flock without feeding them, and when he had taken on him cure of Souls, by his gross neglect to make it a sine Curâ; but it may be said of him as of that Romane Emperour that never said to his Souldiers, go thither, but come hither. Now you may observe these things in his preaching.

1. He preach'd with Authority. He did not think it enough, that he was a gifted brother, or could talk fluently, mysterious non-sense, in Scripture Language wrested; He was none of those in our days who ran before they were sent, being (as one saith) priûs indoctorum doctores, quàm docto­rum discipuli, which take on them to be teachers of others, and need that one should teach them, what are the first principles of the Oracles of God, that have never sate at Gamaliels feet, or stay'd at Jericho, at least till their beards be grown. But before he ventured on that tremendous work of [Page 14]the Ministry, he lived a retired Contemplative Life in the Wilderness, till he was of those years, which the Law required of the Priests for the exer­cise of their Function.

2. He used a [...] a boldness and freedom of speech in his preaching; for he reproved the Epi­demical diseases of the age, and place wherein he lived. He shewed himself to be none of those parasites, that love to sprinkle Court-holy Water on the Grandees of the World, Jude 16. as having mens per­sons in admiration for advantage sake. He did not preach soft and pleasing things, but was (as Aristotle describes his Hero or Vertuous man) [...]. He was a true Nathaniel, an Israelite indeed, in whom there was no guile. He was not wont to daub with untemper­ed Mortar, but used open, and plain dealing, be­ing free and impartial in his Censures, and painted out fin, and sinners in their own colours. He spa­red none that came in his way, neither open pro­faness of the Publicanes and Souldiers on the one side, nor the hypocrisie, sly and refined wickedness of the Pharisees and Sadducees on the other side; Nay, not that Herod himself, though his life lay at stake for it.

3. He preached severely. His doctrine was alike severe as his life, as well knowing that pure Religion and undefiled consisteth not in empty names and words, in being of such a way, party, or separated Church; and therefore he bids beware of flattering themselves with the outward badge and cognifance of God's people, Matth. 3.9. in being Abraham's Children. Chri­stianity consists not in petty observances & modules of worship, but in reality and sincerity. Else we are [Page 15]only Nominal and Equivocal Christians: and there­fore he tells us, Matth. 3.8. we must bring forth fruits meet for repentance. And this strict doctrine he might preach with the more confidence, (as our Saviour Christ) because he spake not only sense and reason, but ex­perience, his life not confuting his doctrine, but confirming it; and fear'd not the censure of Antino­mians, for a Legal Preacher, or a man of an Old­testament Spirit, especially seeing.

4. He Preached Evangelically withal. He not only shewed them their desease out of the Law, but their remedy out of the Gospel. He not only cast them down, by laying the ax at the root of the tree, but restored them by the laver of Regeneration, and pointing out unto them their Saviour, and so was truly gracious, both in Name, and Nature, both in Life and Doctrine. And so I come to the se­cond head.

2. As the light of our Doctrine must shine; so that of our Life and Conversation: and this must be before men, not only before our brethren, that they may be built up in their holy faith; but before those also who are without: That so Religion and the instructors of it may have a good report of all men, as well as of the truth it self, 2 Cor. 11.12. that the mouthes of unruly and vain talkers may be stopt, and occasion may be taken away from them who seek occasion, that our observers, who watch for our halting, may be disappointed, their hearts may be mollified, their hostilities abated, their prejudices removed, and they may be brought to entertain honourable thoughts of our profession. Their Pastours and Teachers being more publike persons than others, ought to know above others, 1 Tim. 3.15. how to behave them­selves [Page 16]in the house of God, and shew themselves ex­amples to the flock; and therefore should learn to adorn their Ministry, as becomes those of so Divine an Order, and by no means to reflect dishonor on so Sacred an Office, by a sordid sensual and earthly conversation. And therefore (as the late Lord Bishop of Down and Conner well sheweth in his advice unto His Clergy) we are to judge of our duty by more strict and severe measures than those of our peo­ple, and must not allow that in our selves, which we do in them. This was both the Apostles rule and practice, 1 Cor. 6.3. to give no offence to any man, that the Ministry be not blamed. And if we will do the work of an Evangelist, 2 Tim. 4.5. make full proof of our Ministry, we must keep our selves as pure and unspotted from the world, as humane frailty will permit, abstaining even from the appearance of evil; least otherwise we defile the priesthood, Ezek. 3.1. and cause the offerings of the Lord to be abhorred. Ezekiel was bid to eat the roll; and we must labor to masticate and concoct the truths we preach unto others, in first trying experiment of them upon our selves, and exemplifying them in our Conver­sations: whence Saint Paul exhorts Timothy to be an example unto believers in word, 1 Tim. 4 12. in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Now to excite us hereunto, Consider,

1. How absurd and unfitting a thing it is, that our practice should be dissonant unto our profession, that we should undo that on the Week-days, which we Preach upon the Lords-day, Rom. 14.22. and so condemn our selves in those things which we allow, Gal. 2.18. and make Our selves transgressors by building those things which we destroyed, that it should be said of any of us which that Spartan said of the Athenians that they knew [Page 17]how to do well, but loved to do ill; 2 Tim. 2.15. and so we shall make our selves to be Workmen that need to be a­shamed, seeing as he saith, Dict a factis deficientibus erubescunt; that it should be said of any man, that he is the best man in the Pulpit, and the worst out, that he speaks as well as never man spake, and lives as ill as never man liv'd; and therefore (as a Right Reverend Father of our Church expresseth it) It is so far from being serious piety, Lord Bishop of Norwich. that it is the worse sort of pageantry, for men to preach Angelical Sermons,and live Diabolical lives; that it should be cast justly in any ones teeth. Rom. 2.21. Thou that teachest another, teachest thou not thy self? that their mouthes should speak great swelling words, and yet still walk after their own lusts, and be like the Stoical Philo­sophers, who could talk big of vertue till they came to practise it: whom therefore Lucian derides, [...], Their works contradicting their words, and their practice giving a lie to their profession. How foolish, ridiculous, and disparaging must it needs be, to make a long formal starch'd harangue about Religion and Vertue, and declame Rhetorically against vice, which they yet renounter, in the whole course of their lives? Which made the Comick say, [...]. He loathed such Sophisters and pretended Philosophers, that were unwise for themselves. Turpe est doctori, &c.

2. Consider the bad influence, our example hath upon other men: How can we expect that others should follow our doctrine, when as we our selves forsake it, as unpracticable or at least uneligible? We see men rather apt to be lead by precedents than precepts, and go like sheep, Quo itur, non quo [Page 18]cundum, and especially to imitate their guides and Leaders. Such persons therefore who are great talkers, and little doers, take the ready way to make more Atheists in the world, than hath been hitherto made by the late licentious times, which have cor­rupted Religion in the very foundations. Will not men of loose principles be ready to look on Religi­on as a non-entity, a cunning devised Fable of in­terested Priests, which go about to perswade that to others, which they believe not themselves? These persons shine, but in a wrong sense, as if they under­stood the words of the Text, so as a Romish Priest profanely applyed them; who being to do Penance for some scandalous offence, by going in Procession to the Church with a burning Taper in his hand, scoffingly said, sic luceat Lux vestra coram homini­bus, &c. They shine, but it is with the Devils light, to Light men down to the Chambers of Death, and make more Proselytes for his Kingdom. He useth them indeed as some ill barbarous people do lights by the Sea-side, which they hang up in dark stormy nights near rocks and quick-sands, to make passen­gers cast away themselves upon their Coast, that so they may make a prey of them. What readier course could they take to open mens mouthes against Chri­stianity, and to say as that Indian did to one perswa­ding him to turn Christian, observing the Spaniards wicked lives, What are Christians? They are Gamesters, Dicers, wicked blasphemers, backbiters, quarrellers, and concluded Christians could not be good; and so we shall find it, proportionably, if we walk Antipodes to our doctrine, and shew our selves such as Tertullian sharply inveighs against, Quibus venter Deus est, & popina templum, & [Page 19]aqualiculus altare, & sacerdos Coquus, & Spiritus Sanctus nidor, & condimenta charismata; especially there being more holyness expected of us then others, and a spot in our Coat making more shew, than in others. We had need be clean who bear the vessels of the Lord, especially in an hypocritical age, Isaiah 52.11. wherein people are apt to espy motes in our eyes, and look on all our faults through a magnifying and multiplying glass; Which may serve for a

3 d Consideration, that we have so many enemies in the world, to encounter, what through the contra­diction of sinners and scoffing Atheists on one hand, and the weakness and peevishness of some, at least, pretended Saints, on the other; neither are we igno­rant of Satans old devise, of casting Ignominy and Contempt on Religion by disgracing and dispara­ging the publishers and professors of it: Great rea­son have we therefore to walk circumspectly, Ephes. 5. not as fools, but as wise, and to take heed that we defile not our garments. For we shall meet with but few Con­stantines in our days so tender of the Clergies ho­nour, as if he espyed them in a fault, to cover them with his Imperial Robes; but they will rather pub­lish to the world all the evil they know by us, and more than they know, their own Inventions and mis­constructions. There are too many in the world, that contemne our Calling, envy our Dignities, gape after our Revenues, censure our most Innocent Actions, and hate our very Persons. Others sepa­rate from our Church as Impure and Anti-Chri­stian, abhor our Garments as Babylonish, our Cere­monies as Popish and Superstitious, our very Wor­ship as Idolatrous, look upon us as no better than Priests of Baal, and Limbs of Anti-Christ. Among [Page 20]these I cannot forget a leading high-flown separatist too well known in this place, who not long since bespake the State in this Language.

Be wise now therefore O ye Kings, be instructed O ye Judges of the earth. Take away Parishes by Act of State, away with all consecrated places for worship, away with Patrones or Lay-founders, away I say with all the appurtenances of a Parish Priest: and again. I profess, quoth he, were I a man in ab­solute Authority in a Nation, I would make Scaven­gers of all the Parish Priests in England to clean the ways and to rake the Dunghills. And this he confidently calls a voice from heaven, when alass! it is only such a noise as that of the [...], proceeding out of it's own belly, and not knowing what Spirit he is of, mistakes the strange fire in his own brain, for a fire from heaven; and minds me of the proud Gnosticks of old, that arrogated to themselves so great a measure of knowledge and sanctity, as to dictate to the world and obtrude their private sentiments on others, as if they were Arti­cles of faith, and themselves guided by an infallible Spirit. It is opinionativeness and spiritual pride of mens gifts and graces, that puts men on separation, and confining sanctity, as the Donatists of old, to their own party in one Corner of Africa: and thus none must be Saints, but those of their Calendar. This makes them, like sheep stealers, take members out of other mens flocks, and boast of things in other mens line made ready to their hand, 2 Cor. 10.16. mistaking for con­version to God, a bringing men over to their own forms, and some petty inconsiderable matters, in which the kingdom of God consisteth not. These mind me of those in Prov. 30.12. a generation pure in their [Page 21]own eyes, and yet not cleansed from their filthiness: or of those in Esay 65.5. that say, stand off, come not nigh me, for I am holier than thou. These are a smoak in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day: and these may serve for a pregnant instance to us, how far an [...]; and rash misguided Zeal may transport men; so as to think that, while they endeavour the subver­sion of a setled Ministry, they are doing God Service, and may be an Item to us likewise, of the dangerous consequences of those Principles, which the afore­said Sectarians so confidently proceed on, viz. The necessity of abolishing things once abused to Idola­try and Superstition, and the unlawfulness of using any thing of an indifferent nature, even as to the Circumstantials of Gods Worship, which is not expresly Commanded in holy Writ. Let us

4 ly Consider the danger of neglecting our duty herein, Ma [...]th 23 14. and of giving offence and bad example unto others: Such certainly (as our Saviour said of the Pharisees) shall receive the greater damnation, when they shall hear it said unto them by God (which so moved Origen) What hast thou to do, Psal. 50 16. to take my name into thy mouth, seeing thou batest reproof, and bast cast my law behind thy back? So that it will not be enough for them at the last day, to say, Lord, Matth. 7.12. Lord, we have prophesied in thy name: And Christ hath good reason to take it ill, if he receiveth wounds in the house of his friends, and be thus dishonoured and affronted by his own Menial Servants, that wear his Badge and Livery; and if those that live by the altar, and eat with him, at his Table, Mal. 2.8. lift up their heel against him, if they I say, depart out of the way, and cause others to stumble; If the light that is in you be darkness (as our Saviour saith) how great is that Matth. 6.22. [Page 22] darkness? What! shall I say, as one; that hell shall be paved with the skulls of profane Scholars? Questi­onless it will be more tolerable in the day of Judg­ment for others, than for such, who instead of being men of God, show themselves men of Belial, insteed of being Priests of the high God, are Priests of Bac­chus, or Venus; and obscure the light of their Do­ctrine by works of darkness. These, though they have the voyce of Jacob, have the hands of Esau, and do by their bad example, but aedificare ad gehennam. Cavendum est itaq, nobis fratres, ne vel superbia, ad­dam, & luxuria, quae (dicente S. Cypriano) valde sua­viter dormiunt in sacerdotum sinu, denuo florentis Ec­clesiae nostrae ruinam moliantur, & aut paritatem inter Ecclesiasticos, quâ nihil imparius esse dixit Veterum non-nemo, aut quod deterius est, Acephalorum Anar­chiam introducant, ne in Chaos antiquum confundamur, & novas demum in Ecclesiâ (quod absit) tragoedias experiamur; dum conformes altàs Ecclesiae filii divino tamen canoni difformes se praestent, & immorigeros, dum ab exterminatis concionatoribus, aut concionandi assiduitate, aut vitae quadam severitate superentur, ad­eo (que) fanaticae plebis furore, ne dicam justo dei judicio, instar salis insipidi sint rejectanei; dum histrionum more verbis tantum Philosophentur, & malè vivendo (quod inquit ille) alterâ manu abripiant, quod bene docendo, alterâ manu porrigant. Caveamus praesertim, ne quis coronam nostram abripias coelestem, Minutius Felix. dum mag­na potius loquamur, quam vivamus, ne indocti coelum rapiant (quod exclamat ille) & nos cum doctrinis nostris in infernum detrudamur, ubi

Scelera taxantur modo Majore nostra, Seneca.

Wherefore suffer Brethren, the word of exhortati­on: Let me intreat and conjure you, by whatsoever [Page 23]is great, or good, by whatsoever is dear and near unto you, by that holy Jesus whom you worship, by that holy Religion you profess, by the love you bear to your own and others Souls, by a judgment which is to come of condemnation to the evil, and recom­pense to the good in a Crown of glory, that your Light shine before men. Phil. 4.8. Finally brethren whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatso­ever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what­soever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any vertue, or if there be any praise, think of these things. Be stars, for light, motion, and influence: And God will make you as stars in his right hand, fixed and unmoved by any of the sons of violence; and be careful to put in practice that pro­mise you made solemnly at your Ordination, to frame and fashion both your selves and families, according to the doctrine of Christ, 1 Pet. 5.3. and so make your selves and them, as much as in you lies, examples to the flock. Set this your seal to your Ministry, and let your whole life be a constant ex­emplifying of a Christians duty, and so a continual Sermon before their eyes, that so they may by this silent Rhetorick be induced to approve of that pure and undefiled Religion, which they see us practise our selves, as well as profess and Preach to others. Re­member your title of Light, and so labour to resem­ble the Sun-beams herein, that through whatsoever place you pass, you may retain your purity. What if you be for a while Ecclipsed, by the interposition of a variable fickle world, the irrational humours of the inconstant vulgar? shew your selves as the Church in the Revelations is represented, having the Moon under your feet, Revel. 12.1. and by an unoffensive walk­ing [Page 24]stop their mouthes, and so take an holy revenge of them, who so far malign your office, as to charge the aberrations of particular Persons upon the Office it self. And then though you may be darkned for a while by the clouds of mens passions and prejudices, yet will it be only to this inferior World, not to the upper starry region; and when you have finished your course, and accomplished your periodick mo­tion, and so long shined before others, till (like a lamp or candle) you have consumed your selves, God hath promised to exalt you to an higher Orb, by an happy Apotheosis, nigh unto himself; even there, where when as others shall shine only as the bright­ness of the firmament, they that turn many unto righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever. Dan. 12.3.

Now that which in my Text is said unto Mini­sters, our Saviour saith in a sense to all Christians. Every one that is of the Light, Ephes. 5 8. must walk as a Child of the Light. Tit. 2. [...]0. Adorn the Doctrine of our Lord and Sa­viour in all things, bring credit and honor to Reli­gion by an Holy Life, Co [...]oss. 1.10. walk worthy of God to all well­pleasing. The word [...] signifies a man as well as light, to denote (as some Criticks) that men ought to live as lights unto others. Christians must let the world see, that there is as much difference between them and others, as between light and darkness, and so they must make the beauty of holiness, which they heard of only by the hearing of the ear, visible to their very eyes; that men may become admirers and practisers of our Religion, and so have reason to glorifie God on your behalf: which leads me to the third and last general, viz.

3 d Our end and design in our light shining. We [Page 25]must not shine so as to glaze and glister for ostenta­tion, like the heathen who knew not what belonged to humility, but were, as Tertullian calls them, Glo­riae animalia, & negotiatores famae, vain-glorious hunters after popular air, and applause; We must not shine as the Pharisees, by making broad our Phy­lacteries, praying in a corner of the street, Matth. 23.5. disfiguring our faces, and all to be seen of men; Matth. 6.16. we must not suffer pride to interpose and rob God of his just Glory, but all our shining must be with a design to glorifie him, who is the Father of Lights; Our good actions must be without hypocrisie, not tempered with interest, but directed to that which should be the chief end of all our actions, as it was of our be­ings, viz. Gods honour, that men may see our good works, and glorifie, not us, but our Father which is in heaven. This as it is a duty incumbent upon all men, so especially upon those who are near unto him, in the Ministry, and so as his Ambassadours are to be tender of the credit of their Lord and Ma­ster. But now when we are said here to glorifie God, it cannot be understood of any real glory ad­ded unto him, who is infinitely and Essentially glo­rious, and so neither better for our praises, or the worse for our dispraises; but then we honour him, when in our thoughts, words, and actions, we set forth his Excellent glory: or as the Schoolmen will have it, Gods glory may be considered two ways, either as it is in him, and so it is incapable of having any thing added to it, or taken from it, as being a confluence and union of those many transcendent excellencies that are in him; or else it may be con­sidered in relation, to it's manifestation to the crea­ture, and so we may glorifie and honour him, when [Page 26]we praise him either with our tongue, (which there­fore is called our glory) or by our holy lives, giving occasion unto others to speak good of his name. That this is our duty, might be more largly shewed, by the express Command of God, who requireth this homage and tribure as due unto him, from all his Creatures, particularly rational, who are the fittest agents for this work, as being endued with reason, and speech for this very end; but especially his own people, and among them his Ministers, which makes the Psalmist to call upon Israel and the house of Aaron to praise the Lord. Psal. 118.2, 3. It is indeed but reason­able that we should acknowledge a dependance that we have on him, the relation that we have to him, and the interest he hath in us. It is but the honour that is due unto his name, who hath in this work complicated our interest with our duty, see­ing in glorifying him, we do honour our selves, as doing the work of Angels here below, and begin those Hallelujahs to the Lord our God, which will be our happiness to carry on in Heaven, to all Eter­nity. Which God of His Mercy grant through Jesus Christ.


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